January 28th, 2008

reddino3

monday things

A relatively quiet Monday, with some lessons, some errands, a visit to Camden Market and a post in her journal by el_pony_pisador about her impressions of a rehearsal of the Venezuelan Youth Orquesta Simón Bolívar in Madrid -with links to videos of the orchestra in YouTube, some of their appearance at the Proms. It made me yearn, this one good news story from my country about these kids, many of whom from very modest backgrounds, for whom music turned out to be their way out of the slums.

Kicking myself that I wasn't able to see them when they played here at the Proms, watching their energetic performances on YouTube. And reflecting on how much we (music students at the time, in some of the traditional conservatoires in Caracas) argued and fought against J A Abreu. the founder of the ONJ, the National Youth Orchestra system, when he tried to take over our school. We thought he was on his way to becoming a little dictator of the cultural scene in Vz and everything outside his empire would wilt and die. And we were right, the traditional music schools languished and wilted, but what the ONJ system accomplished was truly amazing. There is now a comprehensive system of music education in Vz, a youth symphony orchestra in practically every town. And it has survived the vicissitudes and cataclysmic political changes of the last 24 years. A remarkable story..

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